Rachel Rosenthal

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Rachel Rosenthal_table_infobox_0

Rachel RosenthalRachel Rosenthal_header_cell_0_0_0
BornRachel Rosenthal_header_cell_0_1_0 (1926-11-09)November 9, 1926

Paris, FranceRachel Rosenthal_cell_0_1_1

DiedRachel Rosenthal_header_cell_0_2_0 May 10, 2015(2015-05-10) (aged 88)

Los Angeles, California, U.S.Rachel Rosenthal_cell_0_2_1

NationalityRachel Rosenthal_header_cell_0_3_0 Russian-AmericanRachel Rosenthal_cell_0_3_1
Known forRachel Rosenthal_header_cell_0_4_0 Performance ArtRachel Rosenthal_cell_0_4_1
Notable workRachel Rosenthal_header_cell_0_5_0 Pangean DreamsRachel Rosenthal_cell_0_5_1
Spouse(s)Rachel Rosenthal_header_cell_0_6_0 King Moody

​ ​(m. 1960; div. 1979)​Rachel Rosenthal_cell_0_6_1

AwardsRachel Rosenthal_header_cell_0_7_0 J. Paul Getty Fellowship, Vesta Award, Obie AwardRachel Rosenthal_cell_0_7_1
WebsiteRachel Rosenthal_header_cell_0_8_0 Rachel Rosenthal_cell_0_8_1

Rachel Rosenthal (November 9, 1926 – May 10, 2015) was an interdisciplinary and performance artist, teacher, actress, and animal rights activist based in Los Angeles. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_0

She was best known for her full-length performance art pieces which offered unique combinations of theatre, dance, creative slides and live music. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_1

She toured her pieces, with The Rachel Rosenthal Company, to numerous venues both within the United States and abroad. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_2

Theatres and festivals she visited include: the Dance Theatre Workshop and Serious Fun! Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_3

at Lincoln Center in New York City, the Kaaitheater in Brussels, The Internationals Summer Theater Festival in Hamburg, The Performance Space in Sydney and the Festival de Théâtre des Amériques, Théâtre Centaur, Montréal. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_4

One of her key ambitions was to help heal the earth through art. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_5

Early life Rachel Rosenthal_section_0

Rosenthal was born on November 9, 1926 in Paris, France, into an assimilated Russian Jewish family. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_6

Her father, Léonard Rosenthal, was a well-known merchant of Oriental pearls and precious stones. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_7

Her mother was Mara Jacoubovitch Rosenthal. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_8

She described her childhood home as one filled with the works of Monet and Chagall; purchases brought home from her father's travels to Italy. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_9

Her knack for performing developed at an early age; she was only three when she started performing and often entertained up to 150 guests at family events. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_10

She was only six when she started learning ballet under the guidance of the acclaimed Preobrajenska. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_11

During World War II, her family escaped France, moving to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, via a short stay in Portugal. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_12

This journey inspired the creation of her piece, My Brazil. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_13

In April 1941, her family left Brazil to settle in New York, where Rosenthal would later graduate from the High School of Music and Art. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_14

She studied acting at the Jean-Louis Barrault School of Theatre and with Herbert Berghoff. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_15

At some stage she was an apprentice of director Erwin Piscator and directed some off-Broadway productions. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_16

Additionally, she was an assistant designer to Heinz Condella at the New York City Opera and danced in Merce Cunningham's company. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_17

It is the integration of these various skills and talents that have enabled her to produce complex and multi-layered performance art pieces. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_18

After settling back in New York in 1953, her social circle included John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Sari Dienes, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_19

She was introduced to Zen Buddhism and Asian philosophy by Cage. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_20

She soon grew an interest in martial arts (kung fun, tai chi, karate) and started training in them. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_21

Improvisation and spontaneity became significantly more important to her and her move in the direction towards experimental theatre was influenced by reading of Antonin Artaud's, "The Theatre and Its Double". Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_22

She did return to visual arts and sculpture as well; creating truly unique performance art that allowed the freedom to improvise. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_23

In 1955, she moved to California, and became involved with the art scene surrounding the Ferus Gallery. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_24

That year she created the experimental "Instant Theatre," within the Cast Theatre (now named El Centro Theatre), performing in and directing it for ten years. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_25

She was a leading figure in the L.A. Women's Art Movement in the 1970s and co-founded the Womanspace Gallery, a cooperatively run gallery devoted to work by female artists, in 1973. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_26

She is considered one of the "first-generation feminist artists," a group that also includes Mary Beth Edelson, Carolee Schneeman, and Judy Chicago. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_27

They were part of the Feminist art movement in Europe and the United States in the early 1970s to develop feminist writing and art. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_28

By 1975, she had written, created, directed and acted in more than 30 full-length performances in the United States and Europe. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_29

Rosenthal began teaching classes in performance in 1979. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_30

The Others (1984) was her landmark show in which the stage was shared with forty-two animals ranging from goats, snakes to monkeys; all animals had a printed bio and were treated as equals. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_31

In 1987, she was invited to design a piece specifically for the international art fair, Documenta 8, occurring in Kassel, West Germany. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_32

Her original piece for this was Rachel’s Brain, with music by Stephen Nachmanovitch. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_33

Rachel's Brain dealt with brain research findings,intellectual history and hubris. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_34

Alan M. Kriegsman, a writer for the Washington Post, describes her performance as notably magnetic, skillful and sufficient to keep you raptured. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_35

Marriage Rachel Rosenthal_section_1

She was married to actor King Moody, three years her junior, for 20 years. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_36

The couple had no children. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_37

Later years Rachel Rosenthal_section_2

Rosenthal was the director of the Rachel Rosenthal Company which she formed in 1989 in Los Angeles, California. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_38

The company's repertoire deals with themes such as environmental destruction, social justice issues, animal rights, earth-based spirituality, in a hybrid form that combines voice, text, movement, music, video projection, and elaborate theatrical costuming, set design, and dramatic lighting, ultimately challenging the rigid boundaries that have traditionally separated performance art from theater. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_39

She is an advisory board member of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_40

In 1990, Rosenthal premiered Pangaean Dreams at The Santa Monica Museum Of Art for The L.A. Festival. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_41

In 1992, filename: FUTURFAX was commissioned by the Whitney Museum in New York. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_42

This work showed the audience a world of rationed food, government hydro-farms with the purpose of raising climate change dialogue and the possibility of human extinction. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_43

In 1994, she was an honoree of the Women's Caucus for Art honor awards selection committee at the annual WCA conference held in New York City. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_44

In 1994 she premiered her 56-performer piece Zone at the UCLA Center for the Performing Arts Wadsworth Theatre. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_45

Between 1994 and 1997, with her newly formed Company, she revived the "Instant Theatre" of the 1950s and 1960s as TOHUBOHU! Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_46

and went on to collaboratively create DBDBDB-d: An Evening (1994), TOHUBOHU! Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_47

(1995–97), Meditation on the Life and Death of Ken Saro-Wiwa, Timepiece (1996), The Swans and The Unexpurgated Virgin (1997). Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_48

Both Timepiece and The Unexpurgated Virgin premiered at the Fall Ahead Festival at Cal State Los Angeles. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_49

In 2000, at the FADO Performance Art Centre, Paul Couillard, in collaboration with the 7a*11d International Performance Art Festival, presented Rosenthal's final full-length performance piece, UR-BOOR, for two nights only. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_50

In 2000, aged 73, Rosenthal announced that she was retiring from performance to dedicate herself to her animal rights activism and pursue a career as a painter. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_51

She was interviewed for the 2010 film !Women Art Revolution. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_52

Rosenthal lectured at Carnegie-Mellon University's Robert Lepper Distinguished Lecture in Creative Inquiry series, as a lecturer/presenter at the first Performance, Culture and Pedagogy Conference at Penn. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_53

State (1996). Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_54

Rosenthal was also a visiting artist at The Art Institute of Chicago, New York University, University of California Los Angeles, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, California Institute of the Arts, and at the Naropa, Esalen and Omega Institutes. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_55

Artist Robert Rauschenberg honored her in a suite of prints entitled Tribute 21. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_56

Acting roles Rachel Rosenthal_section_3

Rosenthal had a small part in two Season 1 episodes of the television series Frasier, called "The Crucible", and “Call Me Irresponsible” (uncredited). Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_57

She also had a small part in the Michael Tolkin film, The New Age, which starred Judy Davis. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_58

Death Rachel Rosenthal_section_4

Rosenthal died on May 10, 2015, in Los Angeles from congestive heart failure. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_59

She was 88. Rachel Rosenthal_sentence_60

Awards Rachel Rosenthal_section_5

Rachel Rosenthal_unordered_list_0

  • Vesta Award from the Woman's Building (1983)Rachel Rosenthal_item_0_0
  • Obie Award (1989)Rachel Rosenthal_item_0_1
  • Artcore Art Award (1991)Rachel Rosenthal_item_0_2
  • College Art Association of America Artist Award (1991)Rachel Rosenthal_item_0_3
  • Women's Caucus for Art Honor Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts (1994)Rachel Rosenthal_item_0_4
  • The Fresno Art Museum's Distinguished Artist Award (1994)Rachel Rosenthal_item_0_5
  • Genesis Award (1995)Rachel Rosenthal_item_0_6
  • Certificate of Commendation and Certificate of Commendation from the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department (1996)Rachel Rosenthal_item_0_7
  • LA Weekly Theater Award for Career Achievement (1997)Rachel Rosenthal_item_0_8

Books Rachel Rosenthal_section_6

Rachel Rosenthal_unordered_list_1

  • Tatti Wattles: A Love Story published by Smart Art Press, Santa Monica, CA;Rachel Rosenthal_item_1_9
  • Rachel Rosenthal (monograph of her work) published by the Johns Hopkins University PressRachel Rosenthal_item_1_10
  • Rachel's Brain and Other Storms, an anthology of 13 of her performance texts published by Continuum and Nihon JournalRachel Rosenthal_item_1_11
  • The DbD Experience (Chance Knows What It's Doing) edited by Kate Noonan, published by RoutledgeRachel Rosenthal_item_1_12


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel Rosenthal.